Five-run inning helps Cypress extend league title run


CYPRESS – Trailing by a run in the third inning, Cypress was in danger of losing to Kennedy on Tuesday and falling into a tie for first place in the Empire League, but Jason Baca crushed a bases-clearing double to put the Centurions ahead for good.

With their five-run third inning and Raul Salazar pitching a complete game, the Centurions defeated the visiting Fighting Irish, 7-3, to earn their fourth consecutive league title and sixth in seven seasons.

“Winning the league title is one half of what we are supposed to do here,” Cypress coach John Weber said. “We are supposed to win here. That is what this program is about.”

Kennedy (17-8, 7-2) entered the game looking to beat Cypress (21-7, 9-0) twice this week, which would give it the league title.

The Fighting Irish got off to a good start, scoring three times in the first inning. Ray Villanueva led off the game with a single, moved to third on a double by Austin Criss and scored on a fielder’s choice hit into by James Allen. Dillon Paningroro then lofted a towering home rrun to left field to put the Irish up 3-0.

The Centurions scored a run in the second when Baca walked, stole second, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice.

A one-out double by Ryan McCanless sparked the Centurions’ five-run outburst in the third. Arkansas signee Dominic Fletcher drew a walk and was part of a double steal that put two runners in scoring position. After Aaron Lizarraga walked to load the bases, Anthony Marquez had an RBI single.

Baca then connected for his bases-clearing double.

Cypress stole seven bases

Kennedy has clinched a spot in the CIF-SS playoffs by finishing in the top three in the league standings. This will be the second time Kennedy has finished with a winning record in league play since 2005.

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